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How to Prune California Flannelbush

By Melody Lee ; Updated September 21, 2017

California flannelbush (Fremontodendron californicum) is a native evergreen shrub that grows in rocky or gritty soil. The name flannelbush refers to the tiny hairs that cover the stems, leaves and seeds. The hairs can cause skin irritation. California flannelbush has a slender to spreading form with multiple stems and grows 10 to 15 feet tall. Bright yellow flowers in the spring are followed by black seeds in the fall. California flannelbush needs little pruning, which can be done anytime. Pruning in late fall or early winter will result in the least disruption of flowering.

Wear gloves to prevent skin irritation from the tiny hairs on California flannelbush.

Use hand pruners for limbs up to a half inch in diameter and lopping shears for limbs up to 1 inch in diameter. Cut limbs near a joint or bud at a 30-degree angle.

Use the appropriate pruning tool to remove dead or diseased limbs. Dying or dead leaves, splits in bark or wood, oozing areas on the bark and cankers are signs of disease.

Remove limbs that rub other limbs and damaged limbs with the correct pruning tool.

Tip prune throughout the growing season by using hand pruners or your fingers to pinch the ends of soft new growth. This encourages the production of new shoots for a fuller bush.


Things You Will Need

  • Gloves
  • Hand pruners
  • Lopping shears


  • Prune California flannelbush only when necessary because pruning cuts tend to heal slowly and are susceptible to diseases.
  • Clean debris from around bush and dispose of properly. Destroy dead or diseased trimmings to prevent the spread of disease.


  • Wash your skin and clothes thoroughly after pruning California flannelbush to avoid skin irritation from the tiny hairs.

About the Author


Melody Lee holds a degree in landscape design, is a Florida Master Gardener, and has more than 30 years of gardening experience. She currently works as a writer and copy editor. Her previous jobs include reporter, photographer and editor for a weekly newspaper.